Photographs: James Drew Turner for the Guardian
Impeccable Table Manners

Alex and George

When you haven’t seen someone for a while, on meeting again, you tend to waste far too much time marvelling at just how long it’s been since you last saw each other, and filling one another in on boring admin stuff. So let’s not do that. Let’s just say it’s nice to be back and get on with it.

Serendipity has delivered us a same-sex Guardian Blind Date this week, featuring Alex, 23 a public affairs professional (?), and 21-year-old George, a student. Upon first glance, they look like two aspiring actors auditioning to play a young Jacob Rees-Mogg in a highly sexed-up biopic, or twins desperate to blame one another for breaking Mummy’s favourite vase.

But let’s see what they have to say for themselves and read what happened on the date.

Alex on George | George on Alex
What were you hoping for?
A pleasant surprise and a fun time.

Actual pleasant surprises: opening the biscuit tin to find there is a Kit-Kat still in there; bumping into your ex when you look at your most banging hot; a Britney album track coming on in “the club”.

Not that pleasant a surprise tbh: going on a date in a national newspaper because you fancy getting some photos of yourself done for your blog on media bias.

What were you hoping for?
Someone who was up for a laugh and a good conversation. Who knows, maybe Mr Right?

Mr Right. Whither Mr Right? Does he know he is your Mr Right yet? How will he find you? Who decides whether Mr Right is Mr Right? It doesn’t sound voluntary. I once had a man say to me, after three dates, that he thought I was Mr Right. I’m afraid to say I immediately began the ghosting process – how could I possibly spend my life with someone who had such terrible judgement?

First impressions?
I was surprised by how tall he was, but overall, good.

Bleeding hell, Alex loves his surprises, doesn’t he? He must have the lofty expectations and ambition of a powered-down handheld vacuum cleaner. I find it hard to believe surprise as a concept exists anymore, given I wake up every day in 2018 fully anticipating the apocalypse, or the revelation that what I call reality is merely a bonus level on a game of Sonic the Hedgehog.

First impressions?
Nice hair, a warm smile and easy to talk to.

Nice hair is so important. I am truly sorry for those of you who have had to wave goodbye to nature’s weave, but I would be lost without mine. I’m nothing special without it – not too amazing with it tbh but hey – but my thick lustrous mane usually does my bidding and, when long enough, can be fairly versatile. It trolls me daily by getting progressively greyer at a speed I find unsettling, but I’m so glad we’re still together.

What did you talk about?
Where we stood on the political spectrum, and our worst drunk moments.
Festivals, eyebrow maintenance and Come Dine With Me.

Not a single match. Shame. They don’t look like very good listeners, though, do they?
Political spectrum: Bad idea. I know politics is the new showbiz gossip nowadays, but I can honestly say I’ve never had an interesting conversation about politics on a first date. Never.
Worst drunk moments: I cannot believe people who don’t know each other would willingly show their batshit craziness this early on. Mind you, I guess they haven’t been drinking that long, which would explain its novelty. Once you hit your forties, drunk stories are only entertained if they involve death, destruction, car chases, explosions, and more plot than Emmerdale‘s seen in the last ten years. Waking up covered in your own puke next to your best friend’s mother doesn’t cut it anymore.
Festivals: You’re boring me. Next.
Eyebrow maintenance: Oh look, the elephant in the room just coughed politely and asked for peanuts. They both have an impressive set of brows, like a pair of mink stoles over their eyes. A good technique for trimming your eyebrows is to put a comb over them and then trim away whatever pokes through with a beard trimmer or electric razor or whatever contraption you’ve begrudgingly dropped £50 on to manage your attempts at “designer” “stubble”.
Come Dine With Me: OMG is that still on? The best week of Come Dine With Me I have ever seen was fairly undramatic, but was set in Glasgow and featured an amazing English woman called Christine who my ex and I became obsessed with. She was basically a Jackie Collins character but, y’know, a regular person, and insisted on calling her (very nice) flat a “duplex”, smoked 100 cigarettes an hour and talked about giving them up like you’d suggested she should kill her children, and had a voice so sultry, she made Honor Blackman sound like Joe Pasquale.

Here she is:

Any awkward moments?
Deciding what to drink; we were both being too polite.

Any awkward moments?
He tested me on political theory; I think I looked a bit ignorant. He then recommended some “basic” books for me to read.

“Tested” you? Oh, isn’t it a relief, so reassuring, to find gay men are just as bad as all the rest? That within us, all we want to do is impose our own irritating personalities on everyone else. This is why men tell women to “smile, love”, because they are taught that when they speak, the world should listen. If someone tried to belittle me or drown me out with scintillating info about their political ideology – let alone try to catch me out and make me look dumb – they would wear the dinner on their head. Every course. In fact, I would nip over to any adjacent tables of diners and swipe their mains to dump upon his mansplaining, witheringly clever bonce.

Men are told knowing everything is the only option, and it’s so pointless and damaging. Owning up that you don’t know something, to show a gap in your knowledge, room to improve and space to learn, is way, way, way sexier than being a know-it-all, blundering into every conversation in your brogues with your pontifications, corrections and drivelling addenda. The reluctance to fail, and the shame of not being 100% clued in, are literally KILLING men, and we should not be fine with that.

Good table manners?
We had a cheeseboard, which was difficult to eat elegantly. He said he wouldn’t judge me.
Impeccable, and we tried each other’s cocktails.

Best thing about George?
Later on in the date he relaxed and wasn’t afraid to give his opinion, which I think is a good quality.

“He got drunk.”

Best thing about Alex?
He’s very driven and knows where he wants to be in life.

DRIVEN. I can’t speak for either of these gentlemen, but when I hear someone described as “driven” I… well, I don’t know but it gives off the impression of someone who talks themselves up to an uncomfortable degree. I think I’m a bit old. I know it’s common now to think of yourself as a brand, and have milestones you want to reach, and map out your entire life like it’s an ill-fated ITV drama, but I think sometimes ambition and entitlement become a little blurred. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with not having a clue where you want to be in life, either.

Would you introduce him to your friends?
As soon as he said he had arranged a 00s-themed party, I knew he’d gel with my friends.

I’ve got a really big bottle of brandy in my kitchen – I got it in a goody bag at a party I went to, which was very kind of them. I don’t like brandy really, but seeing two people discuss the Noughties – the decade I turned 30 – like it’s some bygone era of crinolines, urchins, and chimney sweeps makes me want to go through to the kitchen, pop that bottle of brandy, and drink the fucking lot.

What do we call that decade, the 00s? Is Noughties too tacky, too “he’s ugly but very bubbly”? Some American magazines call it the Aughts, which I think is absolutely disgusting, like they tried to find the ugliest word in the dictionary. What about the Double-Ohs? That’s quite sexy, if a little laboured. How about the Janets? Yes. That will do. The years 2000–2009 will henceforth be known as the Janets.

Would you introduce him to your friends?
I don’t see why not; he’d be great on a night out.

“Once you get drunk enough, he’s kind of bearable.”

I hope I’m not that person, that friend. The “good enough for a night out but not someone you could deal with sober” kind of fun-time, get the beers in, total ledge, socialising dude who has absolutely no depth. If your friends can’t call or message you at 3pm on a Wednesday with a really dreary problem or just to say hello, then are you really a friend? If your relationship needs a glitterball, and a bacon and cress-flavoured vodka shot to make it really work, maybe reassess.

Describe George in three words
Fun, open, funny.

Fun, like a really vague description of enjoyment and enthusiasm that could only say less if it were a blank Scrabble tile.
Open, like a wound.
Funny, like that smell that hits you just a second after you close the fridge. It’s chicken. It’s always chicken.

Describe Alex in three words
Easy-going, good-natured, enthusiastic.

Easy-going, like *record scratch* boooooooooy can I just saw how much I hate this fucking word, this insult to hyphens and beacon of passive-aggression that tries to disarm your annoyance at somebody. People who say they’re easy-going rarely are – they’re tyrannical nightmares who don’t give a fuck about anything but assume apathy is in some way cool. Until they actually drop the bombshell that actually it’s their way or no way, so thank you for dropping by.
Good-natured, like a really chilled-out dog.
Enthusiastic, like an influencer who just noticed which door the canapés are coming out of.

What do you think he made of you?
I asked him during our date, and he said I was warm and easy to talk to.

It’s quite sweet that he asked him. Why not, eh? Check your progress. Who cares? We could all be obliterated by a sentient bottle of Orangina tomorrow. Not sure about “warm”, though. Urine is warm, briefly.

What do you think he made of you?
He liked my cologne; other than that, I’m not sure. I didn’t feel relaxed enough to be myself.

What was the cologne? Write in and let me know. My kink is people telling me I smell nice. It’s also a very good compliment on a date; it shows you’re paying attention.

EDIT: George writes in to tell me: “The cologne is Jo Malone English Oak and hazelnut. My favourite compliment is being told I smell nice.”

Did you go on somewhere?
To two more bars.
To a pub, and then he took us to a nightclub.

Ooooh sounds like that second bar was a bit RACEY if George thought it was a nightclub. Or perhaps he grew up in the kind of town where locals still point at the sky and go “Ooh!” whenever an aeroplane flies overhead.

And… did you kiss?
I think he went in for one on the train platform, but I’m super awkward when it comes to PDAs, so I accidentally scuppered that.
Just a peck goodbye.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
There is nothing I’d change.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
Nothing I can think of, he was a really sweet guy.

Marks out of 10?

Two sevens. Usually I would say a seven is a 1 in a fur coat, but these feel genuine. Like when someone asks you how you are, and you’ve been through the most traumatic night of your life, but you say, “Fine”.

So what’s next for this splinter meeting of the Adrian Mole Impersonators’ Society? Another round of political theory and Noughties nostalgia?

Would you meet again?
Yes, even if just as friends.

Would you meet again?
I don’t think so. I wish there had been a spark, but there wasn’t.

Alex and George ate at Archer Street, London W1. Fancy a blind date? Email If you’re looking to meet someone like-minded, visit

NOTE: The comments I make are based on the answers given by the participants and not what they may actually be like in real life. The Guardian chooses what to publish and usually edits it to suit the column. Get in touch if you want to give me your side of the story; I’ll publish whatever you say.


NOTE 3: The Impeccable blog will now be published on Sunday mornings.


  1. Excellent to have you back, blind date hasn’t been the same without you. Had to make do with your book, which was brilliant but finished much too quickly. Can we expect the next one any time soon?

  2. So there’s nothing they would have changed about the date, and yet they gave each other 7’s? Hmmm…

    Loved “Open, Like a wound.” And the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia gif. Great show.

  3. You’re back, yay!! I wish you’d reviewed the previous week’s date which sounded bloody excellent. These two just had a pretty meh time. I’m starting to think it’s younger people who have mediocre to downright shit dates, don’t you think?

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